Today’s clinicals was not as worrisome as I anticipated it to be – given the fact that I had two residents to take care of that were both two person transfers. In fact everything went pretty smoothly except for my heel/foot. (I sort of sympathize with Achilles and his greatest weakness being his heel. My goodness it got very painful by the end of my shift!) I learned quite a bit today though!
Like I said earlier, I had two residents. They were roommates and two person transfers for both.
In Bed 1 I had my resident, let’s call her “E”. She had a cast on her leg up to her mid-thigh and was a two person transfer because of her leg. “E” was very sweet but she was a bit delirious and hated going to the dining room, so she often ate in her room. I had to leave to take my other resident to the dining hall so I told “E” where I was going and that I’d be right back. I left the door open (like we’re supposed to) and gave “E” her call light/signaling device so she could alert anyone to anything she should need in the time that I was gone. Once I was sure my other resident was comfortable in the dining hall, I headed back to “E’s” room. That’s when I felt this feeling wash over me as I was exiting the dining hall. Something was wrong, dreadfully wrong. No one around me was hurrying anywhere, no alarms or call lights were going off- but something was wrong. I knew it. I hurried back to “E’s” room to find her door was shut. I didn’t shut it and no one else is to go in there unless there’s an emergency (because I’m a student we get the resident to ourselves unless we ask for assistance.) I knocked on the door and didn’t hear any answer so I opened the door stating my name and that I was here to give care. And “E” was not by her bed where I left her. In fact she had wheeled herself to the toilet and was half standing half clinging to the bar for dear life. I panicked! What the heck was she doing??? She had her signaling device she could’ve asked anyone walking by for assistance! I quickly ran to her aid and helped her onto the toilet since there was no way I could get her back into her wheelchair without assistance but my heart was pumping a million beats per minute. She didn’t know what she was doing and just kept saying, “How did you know I was in need of assistance? You came at the right time! And I’m glad you’re here to take care of me!” and I’m just there going, “please don’t do that again!” She did fine after that! Mostly slept!
Once I had finished getting “E” comfortable I went to the dining hall to help feed a resident, “M”. He used to be a drill sergeant but he was very kind to me. My classmate, “J”, used to be in the army and they talked and talked about all things military. I learn a lot from “J” and he was very helpful when I needed his assistance to move “E” to her bed. He is going to be a great Nursing Assistant and Nurse in the future. “J” and I talked with “M” all through dinner and I got to learn how to feed a resident which was nice. It’s not difficult to help someone eat, but it’s hard to remember that you have to tell them what they are eating as you bring it to their mouth and I slipped up a few times. He also warned me several times (in fact several residents have warned me several times), “To not get old! And Take care of your body!” I haven’t decided if this is their way of displaying how they feel or if they are just trying to convey to the younger generation that what we do now affects are future drastically. I plan to mull that over for the next couple of days, if you have an idea feel free to leave a message.
I also took “M” back to his room (he literally has the best room in the house!) and he showed me a picture of his wife. They had been married 52 years before he lost her to pancreatic cancer last year. He almost made me cry when he looked over at his bed and said, “You know, after sleeping in the same bed as someone for 52 years…seeing it empty… it’s enough to break a person.” …These residents are amazing and the stories they tell even more so, but the emotions you feel and the pain they’ve experienced you can’t say “I know how you feel,” you offer respect and kindness but the pain is still there even if it isn’t physical pain.
After getting “M” settled I returned to help my other resident in Bed 2. I had to have the nurse help me transfer her because she needed the sit to stand machine. My resident, let’s just call her “A”, was very fearful of the machine- it was actually very alarming because her usual behavior is not fear. Regardless, it was my first time witnessing a machine and it was frightening and I was just assisting!
The sit to stand machine is a machine where you wheel the resident into the middle of this four pronged steel contraption until their knees touch this padded cushion. You make sure their feet are secure on the non-skid pad and using a harness around their waist and chest you kind of sling them on to the two upper bars of the machine. The resident then has to hold on to the same bar and the machine is slowly lifted up. At this point it looks like the resident is standing in the sitting position, the back never straightens (at least on “A” it didn’t). Then you quickly take out the wheelchair, replace it with the bedside commode (portable toilet) or the bedside and then the machine is lowered to sit them back down. I understood “A’s” fear because the contraption did look scary and she was so worried she was going to fall! Once she had been toileted, changed, and ready for bed, I laid her in bed. This is where her fear escalated to panic. I was confused as to why she thought she was going to fall when she was lying flat on her bed. Not even on the side of the bed, she was in the middle! But her fear, made her cling to my arms as I tried to position her on her side. If you’ve ever tried to move someone who is using you as support in the opposite way that you were intending, you’d know that it is like taking one step forward and two steps back. It took me nearly a half hour to forty-five minutes to change her brief and get her comfortable in bed. It was very challenging.
Overall the day was great with the resident’s, it was slightly emotional too but I was just glad it ended quickly… I don’t know how much more I could take on my foot/heel. But I also know that the Lord would never give me something I couldn’t handle. Either way I’m exhausted. My advice to you would be to not work full-time when you go to clinicals. You’re literally working full-time and then clinicals because another part-time job tagged onto your day. It’s exhausting!
More for next time!